20 years since the original Independence Day released, back in 1996, proving to be quite the hit - an epic, fun Summer blockbuster - and the long-awaited, long-promised sequel has finally arrived: Independence Day: Resurgence. Was it worth the wait, though? My verdict is in.

I don't want to waste your time explaining the premise to this film, frankly. In short, it has been 20 years since the initial alien invasion of the first film and they're back and invading Earth again, hungry for revenge. Whilst our world has salvaged their tech from the first attack, and used it to better equip themselves, it's still not enough for the impending attack as the aliens have also have 2 decades to upgrade and better prepare themselves. At the start of this review, I asked the question of whether this film was worth the wait or not? The answer: no. Independence Day: Resurgence is a disaster.

The first Independence Day film, as a movie, isn't exactly a masterpiece or anything. However, what made the original as good and beloved as it is today, despite a very over the top, cheesy premise, was its heart and charm. The film was so damn fun; a genuine popcorn flick - 2 hours of mindless entertainment and an opportunity to shove popcorn in your face and watch a fun, dumb Summer blockbuster. Expectations for the sequel weren't high, people just wanted more of the same but Resurgence lacks the spirirt of its predcessor; devoid of any charisma and heart and fun. Naturally, returning director Roland Emmerich went for the "bigger is better" approach but bigger is not better. In this instance, bigger is messier. This film is all over the place, from a convoluted narrative to an over-abundance of CG and SFX to sloppy editing and such poor, incohesive direction of it all.
Another thing the first film excelled on was its characters; they were likable and there was a sense of relatability to them, which added levity to the proceedings. However, Resurgence, again, lacks any meaningful characters. We have lots of returning faces here, from Bill Pullman to Jeff Goldblum, but their characters aren't given the justice we wanted for them. Although, as overstuffed as this film is with CGI, it's also crammed with an over-abundance of characters which means that any chance of developing any of them - be it new or old - is tossed out the window, leaving us with more one-dimensional characters than we can count. The acting isn't great either, with everyone kind of just mailing it in for that big, juicy paycheck - not really invested in the work. As charismatic as Goldblum usually is, he can't quite carry this picture. And the absence of Smith is detrimental to the film; the actor brought a lot of heart and charm to the original film and it's very sorely missed here.

What more can be said about this disappointing misfire? Independence Day: Resurgence could have been a competent, fun Summer blockbuster but it's anything but. This film is a failure. It's devoid of any charisma and heart and fun - it doesn't even take itself seriously yet it's still all too one-note and bland to be even remotely enjoyable. As a result, it's painfully tedious and boring to sit through. It's a poorly directed film, coming off either as trying to hard at times or feeling too lazy and mawkish at others. The CG is sloppy and the action set pieces feel cluttered and uninteresting. It's hard to invest in anything going on because we can't even invest in any of the one-dimensional characters; everything happening feels without meaning and purpose. It's a mess. What's worse is that a third film is on the way (we have the most obvious sequel setup ever at the end of this one)... Let's hope the aliens win, for our sake, so we can bury this franchise and leave it be.

VERDICT:
Independence Day: Resurgence lacks everything that made the original so good: the heart, the charisma and the fun. Instead, this is a big, bloated, CG heavy misfire. Bigger is better? No. Bigger is disastrous. This film is a mess.

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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